Wednesday, September 24, 2014

"Washed by the Water"


Though the story in today's song doesn't really relate, the title does. So we're going with it...

I was baptized 25 years ago today!

Though I've shared my faith in Jesus on this blog and have definitely said that He is the only reason I am alive and free, I don't think I've ever shared this part of my story. So I thought I'd take this anniversary of sorts to tell y'all a bit about my faith journey...

I was born and raised in church and don't remember a time when Jesus was not a part of my life. I suppose I could end the story right there, since I don't have a single, identifiable moment when I acknowledged my sin and professed Jesus as my Savior. Though I really don't know when I became a Christian, I can't look back and recall a time when I wasn't, either. And I've tried! The fact that I don't know has bothered me numerous times, so I've examined my past, thinking that maybe I wasn't a Christian until high school or something. I know that I haven't always been one, because I don't think that's biblical. But apparently I was young enough that I can't remember it, and I never shared a decision, revelation, acceptance, or whatever you want to call it with my parents in order for them to remember.

Maybe you don't believe that my situation is possible, but all I know is my experience and my relationship with Him. I believe that God called me to Himself when I was too young to understand what was happening, and my life has been a continuous answering to His call of denying myself, taking up my cross daily, and following Him (Luke 9:23).

My earliest memories are of regularly, boldly, and confidently singing of Jesus' love for me when I was three. I believed it. I believed Him. Though lies and life's circumstances would later lead me to doubt His love at times, I believed Him then. And I trusted Him. And if it weren't for what I learned of Him so early in life, I wouldn't have had the truth and the Holy Spirit inside me to overcome those lies I would later battle.

When I was around ten, I recall the Lord convicting me of my inconsistency in reading His Word. As a result of His gentle nudge to get to know Him better, I have read the Bible nearly every day since. Again, if it weren't for the truth of His Word inside me, I wouldn't have had the strength to overcome my struggles later on when times got really tough.

One of the more memorable moments for me was during Disciple Now in 8th grade. On the first night, the speaker said something along the lines of, "You're not a Christian unless you've asked Jesus into your heart." I was shocked to discover that I wasn't a Christian! I didn't realize at the time that the phrase the speaker had used wasn't necessarily biblical, so I had a conversation about this with my small group leader. She was caught off guard, because she thought I was a Christian. I don't think she really knew how to respond to me, so she encouraged me to listen to what was said over the weekend. The last night, I "prayed the prayer" just in case I needed to do that in order to actually be a Christian.

My youth pastor approached me within a few months of that DNOW, because my mom had expressed her concern that I had not become a Christian and been baptized. He was caught off guard as well, because he also thought I was a Christian! After our conversation, I understood that I was (and had been) a Christian before DNOW. He encouraged me to consider being baptized as an act of obedience to the Lord.

If I can be completely honest here, I was a bit embarrassed to get baptized at that point. Everyone already thought I was a Christian, and I thought baptism would indicate that I had only just become one. Silly, I know, but that is was kept me from getting baptized for a few more months.

I ended up moving just before the next school year started. I took the move as an opportunity for a clean slate. As a believer in Christ, I knew that I could not continue in disobedience to the Lord. As an outward sign of my repentance of sin and a public expression of my belief in Jesus Christ as the only One who could wash my sin away, I was honored to have Brother Jerry baptize me in a small town in Texas on Sunday, September 24, 1989.


Sunday, September 21, 2014


(by Matthew West)

I won't even try to make excuses for my lack of posts lately. I'll just get down to what I've been up to that has kept me from blogging...

...I attended Open House at both of my kids' schools (on two different nights)

...Celebrated Kyla's birthday!!

...Got to participate in a walkthrough of the children's building {& didn't think to bring my phone to take pictures!}

...Anxiously watched my boy WIN his cross country meet! I totally thought he started off too fast...

...but he got in the lead at the very beginning and held the position all the way through to the end! His coach was confident that he'd win, but I had no idea what his competition was capable of. It was close for a minute (at around the half-way point), but he kept his pace and finished strong!

He finished first with a time of 11:17!

{Do you see a couple of his photobombing supporters? Those are a couple of girls from the youth group who happened to run at the same meet!}

...Enjoyed mine & Laurien's 2nd annual mid-birthday celebration! We included our friend Lindsay this time {& were glad to not experience a flood &/or power outage this year!} :)

...Attended our women's ministry's fall gathering with special guest, Renee Napier, whose story inspired today's song. It is a heartbreaking yet beautiful story of forgiveness. If you do not know who Renee is, here's one of several videos that tells the story behind the song:

...Took a little trip to see Kendra, Jason, and Judah! ♥ Well...maybe not a little trip!

I drove up Friday & made a few strategic pit stops along the way...

Then I spent around 24 hours with Kendra's family, holding this sweet boy as much as possible!

I guess that's all for now! I hope y'all have a super great week! ♥


Friday, September 12, 2014



As I've already mentioned, I got to see NEEDTOBREATHE again last Friday night! As usual, they were amazing!! I always leave their concert with a new appreciation for them. There's something about seeing them live that brings a new appreciation for at least one of their songs as well (eg. "Valley of Tomorrow" from the first time I saw them live). "Wasteland" is that song for me this time around. It's just so good!

These are the lovely ladies who rode to the concert with me:

We met up with six or eight other friends for dinner beforehand, and we saw another dozen or more friends at the concert! A lot of my friends like NEEDTOBREATHE! :) Sadly, I really didn't get good pictures this time. I had my regular camera, but something was wonky with my settings. I discovered the issue after the fact but was unable to get them right that night. Between my camera and phone, these are the best I was able to get...

Pictures aren't the same as actually hearing them, I hope the following video clip makes up (at least a little bit) for the lack of quality photos!


Sunday, September 7, 2014


(by Big Daddy Weave) 

This week has been super!! We are settling in to our school routine and have finally acquired all of the kids' necessary supplies. Their schools' Open House activities will be happening over the next week or so. Cody has his first meet at the end of the week, & Elly is beginning to formulate a plan for rodeo art. Along welcomed routine in the return of our Wednesday night services at church! After leading a Growth Group last year, I'm glad to be back with the students this year!

{not that I didn't like being with adults, but I missed connecting with these kids!}

I got to see NEEDTOBREATHE on Friday night!!! I'll post more about that later, but for now here's a picture of a few of my 40 friends who were there:

{there may not have actually been 40, but that number is not too far off!}

Cody went to a Skeeters game with Kim and her family on Saturday night! He & Ike were asked to participate in a Trike Race! How fun!!

And last but not least...I have finally bought a new [to me] vehicle!!!!!! It has been 11 years since we've bought a vehicle, so this is kind of a big deal! Thanks to Dave Ramsey, we felt it was important to not get back into debt. So I've been putting money aside for the past year so that I could pay cash for a vehicle. At times it didn't look like I'd have enough to get what I wanted, but God has provided!

As I mentioned last week, Baby girl will be getting her license next month. I am passing Silvie on to her, so we started looking for my new vehicle last weekend. I really didn't expect to have something so soon, but it all worked out already!! Dad let me drive his Ford Escape last weekend. It is the same year, make, and model of vehicle that I had decided on, but I wanted to get a better feel for it than a test drive would allow. What I didn't know then was that I wouldn't get a chance to drive my vehicle before buying it, so God knew what He was doing when he gave me the idea to borrow Dad's!

At church last Sunday I was telling my friend John that we were officially looking for something, and he told me that our friend Mark uses a broker. Mark gave me his broker's information and said that he has bought his last three cars through her. She buys vehicles at auctions and has saved him quite a bit of money, so I thought I'd see what she could do to help me. I emailed her Sunday, she called me Tuesday [Monday was a holiday], and I looked at a couple of vehicles Wednesday evening. By Thursday morning (not even 20 minutes into my work day) she texted me to say that we got it, and I brought it home last night!

Without further Lola:

She's a 2013 Ford Escape with just over 7,000 miles!

Though she looks black, Lola is actually a very dark brown... chocolate...or coffee...two of my favorite things! :)

{yes, I'm a goober!}

Anyways, I managed to stay under budget and got a vehicle with way less miles on it than the ones in my price range that I saw online (before contacting the broker). Most of them had 35,000 miles or more, so Lola is basically two years newer than what I thought I could afford! She doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles, but she'll tell me how many miles I can go before I run out of gas! That's pretty super!!

As for today's song, I've been listening to it a bit lately. It's just so good! I love everything about it. I love the words, the repetition in the bridge, and of course the One who the song is about. If I had to pick a favorite line, it would be:

God, I run into your arms, unashamed because of mercy

I hope y'all have a super great week!!